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The Nitpicker’s Nook: October’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts The Nitpicker's Nookfrom around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Robin Marwick

  • There’s a widespread misconception among writers that editors don’t really add much to their work and, indeed, often change it for the worse. John Adamus sets them straight. (Terrible Minds)
  • On a related note, Katharine O’Moore-Klopf explains to her clients why editing takes longer than reading for pleasure. (EditorMom)
  • Should you take an editorial test for a new client? Liz Jones says editing tests don’t have to be a burden. (Society for Editors and Proofreaders)
  • Productivity through procrastination is possible (promise!). The Chicago Manual of Style interviews John Perry, author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing, for some tips. (CMOS Shop Talk)
  • Building custom style sheets for PerfectIt is easy, says Daniel Heuman, and gives you a useful tool to ensure your capitals, hyphens, commas, and spelling are just the way your client wants them. (Society for Editors and Proofreaders)
  • Whether it’s losing a good client or having to deal with an impossible one, setbacks happen to every freelancer. Ruth E. Thaler-Carter has some tips for turning freelancing lemons into lemonade. (An American Editor)
  • Lexicographer Erin McKean searches for weird and wonderful words in the wild and corrals them at Wordnik, a not-for-profit online dictionary. Sounds cromulent. (American Copy Editors Society)

Robin Marwick is a Toronto-based freelance editor, medical writer, content strategist, and dog lover.

This article was copy edited by Jeny Nussey.

 

The Nitpicker’s Nook: September’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].The Nitpicker's Nook

By Robin Marwick

  • What makes our form of English unique? According to James Harbeck, “The core of Canadian English is a pervasive ambivalence.” (BBC Culture)
  • Many freelancers struggle with setting prices for projects. Too high, and you may not get the job; too low, and you may end up working for free. In this two-part post, Richard Adin covers how to calculate a price that works best for you. (An American Editor)
  • Meanwhile, Jake Poinier lists some “fudge factors” you may want to keep in mind when calculating those quotes. (Doctor Freelance)
  • Although writers and editors want the same thing—the best manuscript possible—they don’t always see eye to eye on how to achieve it. Jeannette de Beauvoir suggests that bridging the gap is a matter of communication. (Copyediting.com)
  • John E. McIntyre recently reposted his macro-editing checklist; it’s a great list of big-picture items for editors to keep in mind, including focus, structure, organization, credibility, and tone. (The Baltimore Sun)
  • On a micro level, this post by Beth Hill on the many possible ways to change a sentence for the better is equally useful. (The Editor’s Blog)
  • Chuck Wendig’s post on 10 mistakes new writers make is profane, funny, and entirely accurate. (Terrible Minds)
  • And finally, a kind BoldFace reader sent in this example of one global search and replace gone terribly wrong. Thank you, Sara Scharf! (Language Log)

Robin Marwick is a Toronto-based freelance editor, medical writer, content strategist, and dog lover.

This article was copy edited by Valerie Borden.

The Nitpicker’s Nook: August’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Robin MarwickThe Nitpicker's Nook

  • It’s summertime and the living may be easy, but the editor is wishing she were on a patio or in a pool instead of at her desk. Here are some tips for staying focused all year long. (American Copy Editors Society)
  • Ellie Barton is studying for the Editors Canada copy editing certification exam in November. If you’re taking the exam as well—or just thinking about it—why not follow along? (EditorsReads)
  • Having a feel for measurements and an eye for loose ends are important skills for aspiring recipe editors, according to Liz Jones. (Society for Editors and Proofreaders)
  • To hyphenate or not to hyphenate compounds? Is your knowledge out of date? Every editor has probably struggled at least once with a tricky compound. Beth Hill walks us through The Chicago Manual of Style’s useful cheat sheet. (The Editor’s Blog)
  • It’s not always easy for your editorial business to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Louise Harnby says it’s all about the “four Ps” of persuasion. (An American Editor)
  • Establishing a rapport with an author, while remaining professional, can be a delicate balancing act. Adrienne Montgomerie has some suggestions. (Copyediting.com)
  • Can smiley faces help with that rapport? Erin Brenner thinks emoticons have a place in the editor’s toolkit. (Copyediting.com)
  • Most fiction editors have heard writers ask the dreaded question: “Do I really need an editor?” Indie author Teymour Shahabi says yes, absolutely, and offers a great primer for authors on why editors are so important and how to find one. (Jane Friedman)

Robin Marwick is a Toronto-based freelance editor, medical writer, content strategist, and dog lover.

This article was copy edited by Jeny Nussey.

 

The Nitpicker’s Nook: July’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Robin MarwickThe Nitpicker's Nook

  • Too much work, too little focus? Cartoonist Katie McKissick found herself battling burnout and came up with some novel ways to beat it. (Symbiartic)
  • Editing Goes Global is long over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still learn from it. The organizers have collected all the recaps they could find and put them on one page. Don’t miss the link to the session handouts! (Editors Canada)
  • If you’re like most editors, you want to do your absolute best with every project that comes your way, but that’s sometimes easier said than done. Rich Adin discusses some keys to high-quality editing, starting with the decision whether to accept a project or not. (An American Editor)
  • Freelance editing has its joys and its crises: for starters, no work, too much work, or finding out you’ve made a catastrophic error. Liz Dexter discusses what to do in six common freelance crisis situations, including how to prevent them from happening again. (LibroEditing.com)
  • Speaking of errors, yes, even editors make them. Arlene Prunkl looks at when to freak out, when to let an error go, and when to be a little kinder to ourselves and others (hint: all the time). (Penultimate Word)
  • Testimonials from satisfied clients are a persuasive marketing tool. Adrienne Montgomerie suggests easy, effective ways to get them and explains what to do with testimonials when you have them. (Copyediting.com)
  • Some writing rules are made to be broken, especially in fiction. Here are 20. (Emma Darwin)

Robin Marwick is a Toronto-based freelance editor, medical writer, content strategist, and dog lover.

This article was copy edited by Valerie Borden.

Book review: See Also Murder, by Larry D. Sweazy

By Robin MarwickSee Also Murder

When I offered to review a book about an indexer, I vaguely expected a cozy mystery, perhaps with an index entry at the head of each chapter. See Also Murder is not cozy. Set in the stark landscape of North Dakota in 1964, it’s narrated by Marjorie Trumaine, a farm wife and freelance indexer. Marjorie’s husband, Hank, was blinded and paralyzed in a hunting accident, and Marjorie is holding things together—barely—with help from neighbours and her indexing work for a New York publisher. When her closest neighbours and friends are found with their throats slit, the local sheriff asks Marjorie to help identify a mysterious amulet found with the bodies.

And then, naturally, more bodies start to pile up, and Marjorie fears that her husband’s life and her own are in danger. Plus, she has this deadline for a book about headhunters that she can’t blow if she wants to keep working. It’s easy to see how the scenario could have been played for laughs, but like its North Dakota setting and Scandinavian-descended characters, See Also Murder is serious.

Marjorie is an organized, meticulous list maker with a healthy dose of curiosity, which makes her a good indexer and a decent, if reluctant, detective. Indeed, she compiles an index and enlists the help of the town librarian to help her solve the murders. See Also Murder has some indexing lore sprinkled here and there, which isn’t surprising as Sweazy is an indexer himself. There’s enough to be interesting, but not so much that it feels crammed in regardless. As a narrator, Marjorie is didactic and detailed. At certain points you get the sense that she’s desperately lonely, narrating her own life to remind herself that she exists. (more…)

The Nitpicker’s Nook: June’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

By Robin MarwickThe Nitpicker's Nook

If you’re a Toronto editor who didn’t go to Editing Goes Global on the weekend of June 12 to 14, you missed out on a weekend filled with more great sessions than any one person could attend. Fortunately, quite a few people tweeted and blogged about their weekend, so those who couldn’t make it can still learn.

  • Sarah Grey presented a session on inclusive editing: the art of making sure that language doesn’t hurt people. (Grey Editing)
  • Adrienne Montgomerie and Cheryl Stephens discussed the elusive art of editing visuals, including graphs and illustrations, and ensuring that they are as clear and useful as the text they accompany. (Iva Cheung)
  • James Harbeck gave a talk on the many possible reasons to use “bad” English. (Sesquiotica)
  • Teresa Schmedding and Karen Martwick discussed “triage editing.” In an ideal world, we would all have time to make sure everything we edit is perfect; of course, this is not an ideal world. Schmedding and Martwick’s goal is to bring evidence, rather than hunches, to editors’ decision-making. (Copydesk.org)

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The Nitpicker’s Nook: May’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

The Nitpicker's NookBy Robin Marwick

  • PerfectIt, a popular Word add-in that helps you edit faster and more consistently, has just released its third version. Adrienne Montgomerie’s review of PerfectIt 3’s pros and cons may help experienced users decide whether they want to upgrade — and fence-sitters like me decide whether to finally take the plunge. (The Editors’ Weekly)
  • The self-publishing boom is creating a growing niche for independent editors and designers. Simon Owens interviews two editors who have succeeded in the world of indie publishing. (PBS MediaShift)
  • Of course, “traditional” publishers haven’t gone away; in fact, they’re contracting out more work than ever. For editors who are interested in pursuing freelance work with publishers, Louise Harnby has some guidelines for writing “cold” cover letters. (Louise Harnby)

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The Nitpicker’s Nook: April’s linguistic links roundup

The Nitpicker’s Nook is a monthly collection of language-related articles, interviews, and blog posts from around the Web. If you read something that would make a good addition, email your suggestion to [email protected].

The Nitpicker's NookBy Robin Marwick

  • The American Copy Editors’ Society’s (ACES) 2015 National Conference, held at the end of March, featured a wealth of inspiring speakers and informative sessions. Fortunately for those of us who weren’t there, it also attracted scores of diligent tweeters, as seen in this Storify of the first day’s social media activity. Explore the conference blog for much more. (Copydesk.org)
  • One theme from ACES 2015 was the growing acceptance of the singular “they,” with the Associated Press Stylebook being almost the lone holdout. Here’s everything you ever needed to know about this much-maligned usage. (Stroppy Editor)
  • EAC, of course, has its own conference coming up in June. Freelance writer Nicole Dieker has excellent advice for conference-going freelancers who hope to stand out from the crowd. (Contently.net)
  • Working with multiple authors or reviewers can be a headache, particularly if one or more of them doesn’t quite understand how Track Changes works. Martha Carlson-Bradley explains how to set up Word documents so that Track Changes has to be used. (Editor Queries)

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